Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 21 February 2020

By , 21 Feb 2020, 04:33 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 21 February 2020 Flickr - Pedro Ribeiro Simões CC by 2.0

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A schedule of all the main events involving Slovenia this week can be found here

This summary is provided by the STA:

Two Slovenians from Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive for COVID-19

LJUBLJANA - Two passengers aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess are the first Slovenians to test positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, officials from the National Institute of Public Health announced in Ljubljana. The other four Slovenian cruise ship passengers have tested negative. Two of them have already arrived in Slovenia and have been placed in a 14-day quarantine, while two are still waiting to return.

Information Commissioner launches inspection over spying allegations

LJUBLJANA - Information Commissioner Mojca Prelesnik confirmed that her office had launched inspection proceedings to examine whether police officers really dug around the records of certain politicians with the aim of pressuring or discrediting them. The police in turn said they were investigating individuals outside the police force. The commissioner thus responded to allegations that surfaced in recent days and culminated in Tuesday's visit to the National Bureau of Investigation by three members of the parliamentary Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services.

Šarec expects tough EU budget talks

BRUSSELS - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec repeated in Brussels that Slovenia could not accept the latest proposal for the EU's 2021-2027 budget because the cut in cohesion funds was still too drastic. He expects negotiations to be tough and does not think agreement is attainable at this summit. Arriving for the EU summit dedicated to the issue, Šarec said that under the compromise proposal drawn up by European Council President Charles Michel Slovenia would lose 24% of cohesion funds.

Slovenian officials express condolences to Germany over Hanau attacks

LJUBLJANA - Slovenian President Borut Pahor sent a letter of condolences to his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier over Wednesday's terrorist attacks in Hanau, which has left eleven people dead, including the suspected perpetrator and his mother. Pahor expressed his condolences and compassion to the families and relatives of the victims on behalf of Slovenia. Foreign Minister Miro Cerar also expressed Slovenia's solidarity with Germany in a tweet today. He extended his "sincere condolences" to his German counterpart Heiko Maas and the relatives of the victims.

SMC council says coalition talks should continue, one MP against

LJUBLJANA - The council of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) agreed on late on Wednesday that SMC head Zdravko Počivalšek should continue with talks on the formation of a new coalition following the resignation of PM Marjan Šarec. The only one of 26 council members to vote against was Jani Möderndorfer, one of the SMC's 10 MPs. Möderndorfer said this had no bearing on his position in the party for the time being.

Public broadcaster warns of escalating attacks on its staff

LJUBLJANA - RTV Slovenija, the public broadcaster, warned of escalating attacks on its journalists, editors and other staff in recent days in the form of threatening and offensive phone calls, e-mails, letters and social network posts, condemning them in the strongest terms. The his comes after the Journalists' Association (DNS) and the Culture Ministry condemned attacks on journalists reporting about alleged funding from Hungary of media with ties to the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

Corruption watchdog to look into alleged political staffing at cultural institutions

LJUBLJANA - The parliamentary Culture Committee called on the corruption watchdog last night to look into appointments of heads of culture institutions made by the Culture Ministry due to suspicions of politically-motivated staffing. Culture Minister Zoran Poznič denies the allegations. The committee session was called by the Left, which claims that Poznič, a member of the Social Democrats (SD), has been appointing people linked to the party to top positions in some of the major cultural public institutions.

Higher court confirms acquittal of Slovenian bilingual sign activist

KLAGENFURT, Austria - The acquittal of a member of the Slovenian minority in Austria, who had been charged of vandalism for affixing a sticker with the Slovenian name to the place sign of his home village in Carinthia, has been confirmed by a higher court. Welcoming the decision, the Slovenian community called for an adequate solution to the bilingual signs issue. Franc Kukovica was first acquitted of the charges in March 2019 by the Eisenkappel District Court, and the acquittal has now been confirmed by the Klagenfurt Regional Court.

NLB reports 5% lower profit for 2019

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's largest bank, NLB saw its group net profit decrease by 5% to EUR 193.6 million last year. Its unaudited report, also shows that the core bank's profit rose by 6.5% to EUR 176.1 million. The group's total net operating income rose by 4% to EUR 513.6 million as net interest revenue rose by 2% to EUR 318.5 million, while net non-interest revenue increased by 8% to EUR 195.1 million. The group formed minimal provisions, after releasing EUR 23.3 million in 2018.

Former C-bank head says laundering allegations focused only on NKBM

LJUBLJANA - Former central bank Governor Boštjan Jazbec appeared in parliament today to speak about alleged money laundering in the NKBM bank, noting that only documents from the NKBM bank had been made public, while the so-called "Italian typology" had been detected at other banks as well. Appearing in front of the parliamentary inquiry which also looks into alleged illegal funding of the Democrats (SDS), Banka Slovenije governor said that the central bank, based on findings from bank oversight, had issued several decisions related to established irregularities in the prevention of money laundering.

Consumer confidence drops 9pp y/y

LJUBLJANA - Consumer confidence dropped 9 percentage points (pp) year-on-year in February. After two months of consecutive growth, the index decreased by 2pp compared to January, the Statistics Office said on Thursday. The index was also 7pp lower than last year's average but was still 3pp above the ten-year average.

Group of MPs pushes for new hydro power plants on the Sava

LJUBLJANA - A group of 51 MPs led by Igor Zorčič of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) filed into parliamentary procedure legislative changes that would enable easier and faster completion of the planned power stations on the lower Sava river. They argue that the construction law is ambiguous and that it in effect prevents the construction of complex energy and infrastructural facilities, including the power stations on the lower Sava.

Waste packaging keeps piling up

LJUBLJANA - As waste collecting utility companies across Slovenia are buckling under more than 16,000 tonnes of packaging waste, their representatives urged the government to take action. However, Simon Zajc, the outgoing environment minister, rejected the call for a new emergency bill as premature. The problem of municipal packaging waste had been persisting since 2006. The emergency law passed in late 2018 to remove piles of waste has not solved the problem and there is more than 16,400 tonnes of packaging waste plied up in the utility companies' depots.

Slovenia to cooperate with Cuba in culture, education and science

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted at today's correspondence session an initiative to conclude an agreement on cooperation in culture, education, science, sport and youth policies with Cuba. It is meant to facilitate cooperation and exchange of know-how between relevant institutions and organisations.

Carnival festivities begin

PTUJ/CERKNICA/CERKNO/LJUBLJANA - Shrovetide festivities got under way all around Slovenia and will culminate with carnivals in the coming days before concluding next Tuesday with the death of Pust, as the Shrovetide period is called in Slovenian. While the 60th Kurentovanje carnival in Ptuj already got under way last Saturday, Pust really starts today, also known as Fat Thursday or Small Pust.

Visiting Ljubljana? Check out what's on this week, while all our stories on Slovenia, from newest to oldest, are here

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